“What about diet, something practical, up-to-date; something which is auxiliary to the indicated remedy?” I frankly confess that I am “up in the air” on the diet question. Didn’t you learn all about diet, especially the latest on vitamins, on the Duchess going over?
Forty years ago I knew ALL about diet; twenty years ago about half; ten years ago about a quarter; at present I am so confused I really am at sea on the question. For the past fifteen or twenty years the instructors at the Y.M.C.A., who have taught how to construct and supply nick-nacks for tea parties; the old maid teachers on domestic science in our public schools; old maids who never bore a child nor nursed a patient, who never kept house or cooked for a family, give us through the news papers, magazines and journals, all about diet.
Some tell us all about vitamins, some all about oils and fats, others all about fruits and vegetables. One day we read that spinach contains pure iron in just the form for the anaemic person; the next day we read that the most important part of spinach is not iron, but muriatic acid, etc. One says eat much cabbage, the other says don’t eat cabbage, bringing to mind the old chestnut “Cabbage good for typhoid patients; cabbage kills typhoid patients.” So I have about given up in despair. “But you teach it an write about it in your reported cases.”
Yes, I tell my patients they can tell much better than their physician what to eat and drink and what not to. I quote that old jingle: “Found in the oyster but not in the shell, found in the river but not in well,” etc. The thing refers to a letter like R, e.g., I tell; the patient to apply it in the following manner. When they have gas or a sour stomach or a diarrhoea, write down in a notebook every article of food or drink taken at the two or three meals preceding the attacks. Do this half a dozen or so times, and they can find out the offending article of diet. Then let that article severely alone.
My experience has taught me that Coffea high is very effective for insomnia caused by drinking a large amount of ordinary strong coffee or a smaller amount of very strong coffee; also that coffee is inimical to Nux vomica in any potency, i.e., that coffee and Nux are incompatible. I have also found out that remedy in a high potency will prepare the digestive organs so that they will digest and assimilate food or drink which has formerly disagreed with the patient.
Case I. A tall, slender, long-boned, light-complexioned young woman said : “Doctor, I crave fruit, especially apples. I would like fruit at every meal, but it makes gas and causes acidity of the stomach and mouth. Can you help me?” I assured her I could. I put her up a two-dram vial of Phosphorus 30th and told her to take five discs ten minutes before each of her three meals. Also told her to eat apples – eat apples to her heart’s content, and to report a week after the medicine had been used up. Her report was : “It has helped a good deal, most for the acidity, but I am far from cured.”
The vial of Phosphorus was refilled and ordered taken as before. In addition, I ordered two drams of Horsford’s Acid Phosphate in a teacup of hot water fifteen minutes after meals. Six weeks later, she reported : “I’m all right now; can eat all the fruit I want, but do not crave so much of it; and what is better, I do not have a cough, which I had every time I went out into the cold air.”
Another preparation of Phosphorus, which I have found beneficial as an auxiliary to Phosphorus 30th or 1m is Eskay’s Neuro Phosphates. This I gave in two-dram doses after meals. Are not the phosphorus the cause of the good results? No, for in some cases I have given them without the Phosphorus high and failed, and after that combined them and was successful.
But some times it is not food nor drink which must be prohibited. Pernicious habits, aversion and desires are as difficult to change or control. Case II. A neurotic, exceedingly emotional young woman of twenty-four came to me for help. She said : “When I go to a theatre and see and hear something emotional, or read some sensational book, i get the worst headache, followed by a profuse, prostrating diarrhoea and urging to urinate so that I’m done up for a week.” She was advised to go to the weekly prayer meeting instead of the theatre and read Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”
“Did that cure her?” No, because such patients never follow directions (orders). Gelsemium 30th both before and after the theatre did help some, all I could promise her.
I have tried for the past decade to induce some homoeopathic physician who has a hospital, with a good laboratory, to make a study of what I call drug dietetics so that we could have a reference book to which we could turn and find at a glance what diet agrees with patients needing a certain remedy, and what diet disagrees, but I have plead in vain. I am compiling a little pamphlet, however, from cases reported, in which the diet and other auxiliary treatments have been reported. It would be a great help if everyone reporting cases would give the auxiliary treatment they advise for each case and the results they obtain therefrom in full.